Today, Wheaton College officially changed an obscure education document – a move that likely escaped the notice of most in the evangelical community. Yet, Wheaton’s revision of its conceptual framework for its teacher education program marks a significant course correction for the evangelical flagship. The previous document revealed an uncritical acceptance of social justice as defined by the radical Left. The new document shows a rigorous commitment to God’s justice – and to human flourishing as biblically defined.
About three years ago, I exposed Wheaton’s embrace of leftist social justice in a report that’s still posted to my blog. The report cited the college’s original conceptual framework, which said Wheaton develops teachers who are “agents of change” for “social justice.” The document then defined justice by citing a number of radical leftist thinkers. These included Paulo Freire, a Brazilian Marxist who encouraged students to identify their oppressors so they could overthrow them. It also cited Bill Ayers – the former Weather Underground terrorist who bombed the Pentagon; and Maxine Greene, Ayers mentor, who advocates destroying capitalism.
Initially, when I brought my concerns to the college, it defended its conceptual framework. However, when Dr. Philip Ryken became president of Wheaton, he reviewed the document and vowed to oversee a complete revision. This revision unveiled today shows a heartening return to correct biblical thinking.
The new document says the goal of Wheaton’s program is “to prepare educators who teach and lead for human flourishing” as suggested in Proverbs. This departs markedly from “agents of change” for “social justice” as outlined in leftist literature. The new document also encourages teachers to “embody justice.” But, instead of drawing on Marxist models, it points to Christ. As it states, Jesus exemplified justice by respecting all people; welcoming the poor; objecting to unjust practices; and recognizing individual responsibility.
This correction is extremely important. As the President of American Vision Gary Demar explains, many great Christian schools have drifted from their biblical moorings not because their leaders were forced to do so. Rather, they simply succumbed to “a generous spirit of acceptance of less orthodox views.” Thank you, Dr. Ryken, for not succumbing to these views and for securing Wheaton again to the mooring of Scripture.